Requirements and Responsibilities of E-Verify

Even as some states limit employers’ use of the federal E-Verify program to confirm the employment eligibility of new hires, a recent study shows low compliance rates in states where employers are legally mandated to use E-Verify.

If accessibility is a factor, employers may soon have a new tool to make compliance easier. Last week, the USCIS E-Verify program announced that it is testing a new mobile app that allows users to create and manage cases on their iPads. To participate, interested persons must email the USCIS by May 4, 2016. The USCIS has also announced a new E-verify statistics webpage that provides interactive state-and-industry usage information.

E-Verify – What is it and is it required?
Federal law makes it unlawful for an employer to hire an individual who is not legally authorized to work in the United States, or to continue to employ an individual knowing that the individual is (or has become) unauthorized to work in the United States. The E-Verify system is a free online system operated by the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA). E-Verify confirms the identity and employment eligibility of new hires by comparing the information entered on the individual’s Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, against records maintained in the SSA and USCIS databases.

Some states require all employers, public and private, to use E-Verify to confirm the work authorization of new workers. Other states may limit compliance to government contractors and subcontractors. In still others, the use of E-Verify is optional. See the table below for state requirements.

Which employees can be verified through the E-Verify system?
Employers that participate in the E-Verify Program are required to verify all new hires following completion of the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 (Form I-9). The Form 1-9 can be started during the application stage but it must be completed within three days of the date of hire. E-Verify cases must be created by the third business day after the employee first started work for pay. Ideally, cases should be started on the first day of work so potential problems can be identified and addressed immediately.

Employers may not use E-Verify for pre-employment screening of job applicants. Also, with the exception of some federal contractors, employers are prohibited from running existing employees through E-Verify. The mandatory E-Verify Participation poster and DOJ Right-to-Work poster must be posted where current and prospective employees can clearly view them. Consequences for misuse of E-Verify may include exclusion from the program, loss of a business license and steep monetary penalties.

Which states have E-Verify requirements?

State: Applies to:
Alabama All employers, public and private
Arizona All employers, public and private
Colorado State agencies and contractors
Florida State agencies, contractors and subcontractors
Georgia Public employers, contractors and subcontractors, and private employers with more than 10 employees
Idaho State agencies, public contractors and subcontractors
Indiana State and local agencies and contractors and Public Works contractors
Louisiana State contractors; private employers must use either E-Verify or require alternative documentation
Michigan DHS and DOT contractors and subcontractors
Minnesota State vendors and subcontractors with contracts over $50,000
Mississippi All employers, public and private
Missouri Public employers, state contractors, grantees and tax beneficiaries
Nebraska Public employers, contractors and tax beneficiaries
North Carolina State agencies, private employers with 25 or more employees
Oklahoma Public employers, contractors and subcontractors
Pennsylvania Public Works contractors and subcontractors
South Carolina All employers, public and private
Tennessee Public employers; private employers with 6 or more employees must use either E-Verify or require alternative documentation
Texas State agencies, employees of their contractors and subcontractors
Utah Public employers, state contractors and subcontractors, and private employers with 15 or more employees
Virginia State agencies, state contractors with more than 50 employees and contracts over $50,000
West Virginia Capital Complex service providers

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